Canola council advises care with early seeding

Growers eager to get out in the field are reminded to take extra caution to avoid the high price of incorrect seeding depth that may result in uneven stands, says Canola Council of Canada senior agronomy specialist Doug Moisey.
 
“Uneven stands can reduce yields and ultimately cost growers money, says Moisey. “Growers should take care to ensure uniform stand establishment with a suitable plant population — a good target is 10 plants/ft2.”
 
Uneven stands averaging four plants/ft2 could cost as much as 21 per cent in yield compared to an even plant stand of eight plants/ft2.” Based on today’s contract prices, a 40-bu/ac average yield and a 20 per cent yield drop on 640 acres adds up to a potential loss of $50,000.
 
If seeding early into cold soils, consider the following strategies:
• Chasing moisture at this point of the season is not the way to go in cold soils.
• Seed shallow, targeting a consistent depth of ½” to 1″. It may be necessary to slow down to achieve this consistency.
• Maintain a reasonable seeding rate or potentially bump seeding rates up by 10 per cent since early seasons stresses can reduce emergence.
• Use seed-placed phosphate for enhanced pop up effect.
• Because of changing soil conditions and the potential for mechanical issues with drills, check the seeding depth periodically, particularly when moving field to field.
• The use of a pre-seed burnoff, if weed populations warrant application, can be a tool to minimize stress on emerging seedlings.
• Keep a seed sample from each variety and seed lot sown and store in a paper or cloth bag in a cool, dry place.
• Check fields seven days after seeding and record plant populations.
 
Moisey reminds growers to target a plant population of 10 plants/ft2. Visit http://www.canolacouncil.org/ and follow the SEED Smart link for more information on calculating appropriate seeding rates.

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